Monday, July 16, 2007

Geoff Lawson named new Pakistan coach

Former Australian fast bowler Geoff Lawson will coach the Pakistan team, it was announced on Monday.

"Geoff Lawson has been named as Pakistan's new cricket coach," Pakistan Cricket Board chairman Nasim Ashraf told a news conference in Karachi.

Lawson, 49, succeeds Bob Woolmer, who died during the World Cup in the Caribbean in March. The Australian was picked by a four-member PCB committee over two other Australians, Dav Whatmore and Richard Done.

"We considered all three of them. Of the three, Lawson has been confirmed," Mr Ashraf said.

"Lawson has been awarded a two-year contract, which is renewable. We want a coach to lead us to the 2011 World Cup which will be jointly hosted by Pakistan," added the PCB chief.

On Sunday, Mr Ashraf said the race was between Whatmore and Lawson for the post. The third Australian on the short list, Done, was already ruled out.

"Done is no longer in the race and we now have to choose among Lawson and Whatmore," said Mr Ashraf.

Lawson has coached the New South Wales team in Australia and had reportedly been backed by most of the Pakistan team players, who found the former Australian paceman more friendly.

Whatmore, who played seven Tests for Australia as a batsman, lost some points after former Sri Lankan captain Arjuna Ranatunga advised the Pakistan team management to avoid him.

Ranatunga's advice came when the Pakistan team was touring Scotland earlier this month, but Ranatunga's former colleague Muttiah Muralitharan and current player Kumar Sangakkara described Whatmore as a competent coach.

The Pakistan job is seen as one of the most difficult in the game. The national side has had 11 different coaches in the past 10 years, with three stints each for former great Javed Miandad and Richard Pybus, Pakistan's first foreign coach.

Woolmer, who took over from Miandad in June 2004, was also criticised for his over-experimenting with the team and was certain to be sacked after Pakistan's first-round exit from the 2007 World Cup in.

The new coach will be under pressure from the outset as Pakistan has a hectic international schedule commencing with the Twenty20 World Cup in September in South Africa.

Full name: Geoffrey Francis Lawson (also known as Henry) Age: 49 years
Major teams: Australia, Lancashire, New South Wales
Tests ODIs
M . . . . . .46 . . .79
W . . . . . .180 . . .88
Best . . . 8/112 . .4/26
5s . . . . . .11 . . . .0
10s . . . . .2 . . . . .0

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